SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Have you ever left your pet in the car while running to the store? If so, you’re not alone.
But as summer begins and the temperature goes up, so do the health and safety risks for your pet.
According to PETA, there have been 71 reported heat-related deaths of dogs and other animals in 2018 and 2019 so far.
Carmine DiCenso, Executive Director of the Dakin Humane Society told 22News, “Even if you’re in a shady area, even if the windows are cracked, it’s going to get too hot in that vehicle and put their health and safety at risk.”
22News put a thermometer in a car on an 80-degree day and in less than 10 minutes, the temperature rose to 117 degrees. Springfield Fire Commissioner, B.J. Calvi told 22News, “When it’s 80 degrees outside, within 10 minutes your car will be up to 100 degrees. Within 20 minutes, it’ll be up to 110 degrees.”
When a pet is left in a hot car for too long they risk becoming hypothermic and eventually getting heat stroke. Westover Animal Clinic Veterinarian, Bonnie Smith, told 22News some symptoms to look out for on a hot day.
- Panting that doesn’t stop.
- Lethargy or tiredness.
- Rapid heart rate presenting as restlessness.
- General personality change / not acting normal.
Some dog owners change their schedules once the weather warms up.
“If it’s too hot of a day they have to stay home and I’ll go to the store later,” dog owner, Ron Laviolette told 22News.
DiCenso recommends that if an owner has to take their animal with them, to leave the A/C running and put a sign in the window letting others know your pet is safe and cool.
“What’s generally recommended for the public is if you see an animal in a vehicle by a store, go into that store and have them page the license plate and make of the vehicle to make efforts to find the owner,” said DiCenso.
Commissioner Calvi said if you’re concerned a pet is in distress to call 911 immediately.